This month I invite you to think about three things you can do to grow your chapter and enrich your members--courting, hosting, and seeking diversity. In the 1800's when a man went a-courting, he'd put on his nicest clothes and his best behavior to impress his lady--and her mother and father. He'd sit in the porch swing with her, getting to know her week after week. He might bring flowers or take her for a walk in the forest or a ride in his buggy.
We can learn a lot about courting our members and potential members. Perhaps we could put on our nicest clothes for a meeting and be on our best behavior to impress members and guests. Perhaps we could go visits members or prospective members at their homes--and do it weekly or bi-weekly--just to get to know them better. We could even bring flowers or take them for a ride.
I recently went to a Beta Chapter meeting where I saw the best of courting members and potential members. The activity lined us up in two lines facing each other to discuss one question with each of the three ladies we passed. One question was: Would you rather go without TV or fast food for a year? Past State President Sue Pettit said, "I could go with about anything." I said, "What about comfortable shoes?" And we laughed and laughed.
When we all returned to our seats, Activity Leader Linda Pitts read aloud a guest's name, and let a member tell something she had learned about that guest, getting members and guests all sharing. With this fabulous activity, Linda led us all a-courting, learning about each other, but her courting techniques didn't stop there. Each meeting Beta Chapter brings addressed cards to mail to absent members. A member takes a card and mails it to an absent member to let her know she was missed and inform her of what went on at the meeting. If you like these ways of courting members and potential members, just ask Linda. She's always willing to share.
When my husband worked for Ross Perot, I actually read books about hosting. I learned how to pick out the quiet person at a table and compliment her hair or scarf to honor her, but I learned some other things about hosting from Theta Chapter. They were driving from Sterling to Boulder to see a play and thought to invite me. That's the first part of hosting--think about who is not in your group that you can invite to visit a Chapter meeting. But Theta didn't just invite me; they invited members, potential members, daughters of members, and past members who had dropped out. Each Chapter could do that kind of hosting and seek out that kind of diversity. You can even google "hosting" and find out some great ways to host others!
Chapter Co-President Penny Propst modeled another fabulous hosting technique. As she introduced people to me, she told me where and what they taught or included something that linked us personally, setting us up to have something to talk about immediately. One woman was raised in MO like me; another had taught in a men's prison so I knew exactly the kinds of questions to ask her. And Penny remembered to take photos which meant we all had another reason to connect after the event.
As I visit each Chapter, I am wowed by the ways you honor your members and engage with potential members! I just loved these two February visits and wanted to share ways they courted, hosted, and sought out diversity in hopes that each chapter can borrow their ideas. Please write up your ideas for courting, hosting, and seeking diversity and share them with us all in Colorado Peaks.